Health Benefits of Bariatric Surgery
Results, even before you lose weight
Bariatric surgery can have a powerful impact on many health conditions, only some of which are dependent on weight loss.
Not all the health problems associated with obesity are actually caused by being overweight. By changing how your body digests food, weight loss surgery can impact hormone levels, nutrient absorption, and the digestive processes that contribute to many obesity-related health conditions.
Gastric bypass is a highly effective treatment for diabetes, often resulting in immediate improvement. The effect is so powerful, in fact, that some patients can stop their diabetes medicine before they leave the hospital.
By changing your gastrointestinal anatomy, a gastric bypass affects the production of intestinal hormones. As a result, the body becomes less resistant to insulin, and A1C hemoglobin levels normalize.
Acid reflux is caused by a backflow of stomach acid into the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the mouth to the stomach. Gastric bypass strengthens the valve between the esophagus and stomach, blocking that backwash and allowing the esophagus to heal. Most patients experience relief within just a few days after surgery.
High Blood Pressure
Changing the way you digest food may help get rid of excess salt and fluid in the body, making it easier for your heart to pump. In this way, gastric bypass surgery has a similar effect as diuretic blood pressure medications. (Additional blood pressure benefits are linked to weight loss.)
Gastric bypass reroutes the flow of nutrients through your digestive system. This directly affects cholesterol levels, independent of weight loss. Surgery decreases LDL cholesterol levels and improves cholesterol synthesis.
Benefits with Weight Loss
Surgical weight loss is designed to take pressure off your bodily organs and promote overall health by encouraging rapid, but safe, weight loss. As you lose weight, you will probably see an improvement in these health conditions:
High Blood Pressure
Over time, bariatric surgery reduces excess body weight, reducing the amount of work your heart needs to do to push blood through the body.
Osteoarthritis and Joint Problems
Excessive weight can cause joint damage, leading to swelling in your knees, hips, ankles or back. As you lose weight, you take the pressure off your joints, and pain and swelling is reduced.
Obesity is a key contributing factor in obstructive sleep apnea. With this serious sleep disorder, the soft tissues in your throat periodically collapse, leading to temporary stoppages in your breathing.
People who are significantly overweight tend to have more fatty tissue in their upper airways, making them more prone to sleep apnea. As you lose weight, this fatty tissue is reduced, making it easier for your throat muscles to keep your airway open.
As patients lose weight, urinary stress incontinence often becomes completely controlled. This can be attributed to less weight or pressure pushing on the top and sides of the bladder.